William Shakespeare, Jr. has quite the history in Kalamazoo that many don't know about.

William Shakespeare, Jr. was an American inventor who invented the level-winding fishing reel. Shakespeare also founded and was one of the key people of Shakespeare Fishing Tackle, which he founded in 1897 in Kalamazoo, as a fisherman aiming to improve the fishing-reel mechanism.

Not to be confused with the famous poet and playwright who died in 1616, William Shakespeare Jr.  was an American inventor who was born in Kalamazoo in 1869.  Shakespeare had patents for camera equipment as well as numerous fishing-tackle inventions.

The company he created, Shakespeare Fishing Tackle, was a Kalamazoo company until it moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1970.

In fact, that's why we have a club called Shakespeare's Pub in downtown Kalamazoo.  When the founders of Shakespeare's Pub decided to open in 2000 they discovered the old Shakespeare's Company building according to their website,

It was in pieces. The back of the building had been blown out in a fire. There was no staircase, or a window without a crack. My initial reaction was, "NO WAY!" to the idea that this was our place. Scott was relentless about building our pub here. I have always trusted him, so I agreed to follow him on this journey. I remember going home to Angela and telling her, I just put us into certain bankruptcy. After that initial thought, we researched the history of the Shakespeare's Company building and all that Shakespeare's Rod and Reel meant to our community. Suddenly, my hesitance turned to excitement and I began to think, "This can work". There could only be one name for our gathering place; Shakespeare's Pub.

The history of Mr. William Shakespeare Jr. lives on in Kalamazoo.



More From WKFR